Blaming Israel for Summer, and Other Libels
by Susana Scheiner
You thought it couldn’t get more ridiculous than Egypt blaming Israel for shark attacks at an Egyptian beach.
And yet it has.
This July, Palestinian journalist Abdul-Hakim Salah found a way to argue that summer itself is part of the Palestinian tragedy.
In an article published by Maan News Agency, Salah bitterly gripes,
In Israel… [residents] might even fail to notice the burning heat as they move from air-conditioned homes, to cars, to workplaces. But…in Palestine –
presumably a reference to Judea and Samaria, aka the West Bank,
an overwhelming majority do not have air conditioning at home or at work, not to mention that many do not even own a car, but rely on a tired public transport system.
Meanwhile, a large portion of people who do have air conditioning would think ten times before turning it on, fearing they will fail to pay the electricity bill.
As though Israelis – and people all over the world, for that matter – don’t use public transportation, don’t ration their air conditioner usage, and aren’t concerned about electric bills!
Salah goes further,
The group that suffers most is Palestinian laborers who work in Palestine and in Israel. Most laborers have no choice but to work under the heat of the sun for at least eight hours a day, added to the couple of hours it takes to cross military checkpoints.
Again, as though Israelis – and people all over the world – don’t work outdoors under the heat of the sun for hours every day. Utility workers, farmers, open market vendors, soldiers, gardeners, athletes, tour guides, archeologists – are all of these victims, too?
But Salah has more to say:
When forecasters tell us to go to the beach, it strikes a nerve which advocates of the two-state solution may have forgotten.
If Israel ever agrees to the most ambitious Palestinian terms for a two-state solution, the West Bank will still be left without places to cool off in summer.
Aside from the statement’s blatant falsehood – the most ambitious Palestinian terms for a two-state solution would actually leave Palestinians with a sizable portion of the cool and refreshing Jordan River – it’s absurd that Salah wishes us to pity Palestinians because the state they claim to yearn for is not bordered by a sea or ocean.
If this is the bar for victimhood, there are a few others who qualify, including Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belarus, Macedonia, Slovakia, Mongolia, Nepal, Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgystan, Bhutan, Chad, Niger, Mali, and Zimbabwe, to name a few.
But it’s not just our unwarranted sympathy that Salah demands. You’ll notice that he singles out “advocates of the two-state solution” for criticism.
That is – and this is important – Salah wants us to believe that Israel’s demise would be an acceptable price to pay so that Palestinians could spend a day at the beach.
Forget three thousand years of history. Forget in particular the last 64. Forget international law. Forget the safety of Israel’s 8 million people and the world’s 15 million Jews.
Forget all that.
Palestinians want a day at the beach.
Do I think this is Salah’s actual reasoning? No. I have more confidence in Salah’s intelligence than that. It is our intelligence in which Salah has no confidence. He believes we will fall for this “logic.”
He’s not the only one.
Fanatic haters of Israel use any and every pretext, no matter how outrageous and nonsensical, to portray Palestinians as victims and/or make Israel’s existence seem like a bad idea. From blaming Zionists for the illegal drug trade to accusing Israel of “Judaizing Jerusalem” by investing millions to improve the city’s infrastructure and quality of life, there are plenty of examples that would give pause to any clear-thinking casual observer.
Such statements are nevertheless harmful in two respects:
1. Those living under governments that limit access to free and critical media tend to accept such idiocy as fact, resulting in mass hysteria when it comes to Israel, or “the Zionist entity,” as Israel is known in such countries.
2. Even in open democracies, continually repeated lies cast a shadow – however undeserved – over Israel and its supporters.
Still, there may be an upside:
These utterly preposterous claims undermine the similarly fictitious but ostensibly more realistic allegations made against Israel. When it is so obvious that some people, organizations, and entities will go to any length to make Israel out to be Satan, regardless of reality, any rational observer must realize that their assertions of apartheid, human rights abuses, war crimes, and the like merit closer scrutiny.
And closer scrutiny invariably concludes in Israel’s favor.